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Overcoming midseason struggles paved Tufts’ road to championship

2015 Division III Men’s Lacrosse

The fork in the road arrived in April. With the postseason looming, and in the midst of a grinding three-game road trip, Tufts University suffered its second loss in as many weeks. The team was frazzled.

“I was struggling midseason, not sleeping and (felt) a ton of stress,” Tufts head coach Mike Daly said. “I just thought we weren't maximizing our potential … and that's more of my job than winning, I think, at that point.”

Experience lifted Tufts for the remainder of the season. When the chaos of the NCAA tournament and championship weekend arrived, the Jumbos stamped out the noise. Lynchburg College surged to a 4-0 lead to begin the title match. This time, though, the Jumbos weren’t shaken.

“It’s actually fun,” senior Cole Bailey said. “I think we were in a situation like that last year, down 5‑1 or something like that. So we've been there before. Just calm down, win the next ground ball; score the next goal.”

Bailey and three of his teammates scored five goals in five minutes to end the period, and another five in the second quarter, amassing a 10-6 halftime lead. The second half brought more of the same as the Jumbos clinched their second consecutive national championship with a 19-11 victory.

“There's so much going on (through the weekend) – we just kind of forget why we're here,” Bailey said, “but the real reason we're here is for that game, to win that game. And we did – so proud of these guys.”

The Results
2015 Division III Men’s Lacrosse

CHAMPIONSHIP
Tufts 19, Lynchburg 11

SEMIFINALS
Tufts 19, Rochester Inst.12
Lynchburg 11, Gettysburg 9

ELITE 89 HONOREE
Ryan Connors, Lynchburg

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